by Sensei Brian Chmay
As a kid I spent much of my time during the winter months on skates playing hockey. Now I spend much of my time in my bare feet on a dojo. Having participated in both sports, I find there are a lot of similarities.
Both sports are good exercise and are fun to do. Each provides for physical conditioning and the development of motor skills. In hockey, you learn how to skate, check, deke, pass and shoot. In karate you learn how to shuffle, block, fake, punch and kick. But in order to win in both sports you have to be able to score goals.
Now, in hockey you can't score goals unless you're shooting at the net. You can be the fastest skater or the best passer but you can't win unless you're shooting at the net.
In karate, you can't score goals (points) unless you're shooting (aiming) at the net (opening above the belt). I've seen many karateka throwing hard and fast techniques at their opponent only to see these techniques land on their blocks or too far away to count. This is all right at the lower belt levels as it helps the student develop motor skills, timing and distance judging. On the higher belt levels, it is a waste of precious energy and may leave you exhausted and unable to defend yourself against your attacker(s). You must train to set up and choose an opening to score your goal.
Many hockey coaches train their players to go on the offensive and get the puck down to the other team's end zone. This keeps the pressure on the other team and enhances your chances of getting a shot on net and scoring.
Many Sensei's will also train their students to go on the offensive to put pressure on their opponents. This will enhance their chances of getting a shot and scoring.
Don't expect every shot on the net to be a goal, but with hard work and dedication you can greatly improve your chances.
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